President Bush Rejects Oil and Gas Exploration Both on and Offshore In Florida - A Stark Reversal from His Position on the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge


DATE: May 30, 2002

BACKGROUND: President Bush said on May 30, 2002, "Today I am extremely pleased to announce two historic actions in the state of Florida that exemplify personal stewardship and conservation partnerships. The United States government will buy back rights for natural gas and oil development in Destin Dome, and in critical parts of the Everglades."

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The President seems to be saying that drilling for oil and natural gas cannot be done in an environmentally-friendly way. That is just plain wrong.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The President, previously, has been on strong ground in taking the position that oil and gas exploration can be done in environmentally-friendly ways, even in the most sensitive areas. That is why the Senate was wrong to kill exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That is what makes his statement about Florida exploration particularly perplexing. If he had rejected exploration there on the basis of states' rights it would have been understandable. Basing his decision on environmental concerns was factually incorrect.

DISCUSSION: "From the tundra of Alaska to the wetlands of Louisiana, a host of advanced technologies enable the oil and gas industry to produce resources far beneath sensitive environments." - Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology, President Bill Clinton's Department of Energy, October 1999.

Other notations from this publication can be found in Ten Second Response #21302: "Bill Clinton's DOE Thought Oil and Gas Exploration in Alaska Was Desirable and Environmentally Friendly," The National Center for Public Policy Research, available at

It should be noted that the Destin Dome exploration would begin 25 miles off the Florida coast, making even the state's right argument somewhat questionable.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The full text of President Bush's remarks can be found at: .


by Tom Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613